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The price of everything

January 15, 2015
The $22K TV 175

Does this look like 22 grand worth to you? (Bonhams photo)

January has become Classic-car auction season in Arizona. While the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale event is probably the best-known, other auctions are or have happened as well. One lot at Bonhams Scottsdale auction was particularly interesting.

A nice-looking scooter, for sure. In fact, according to the auction catalog the restoration work was overseen by Patrick Fitzgibbons of P-Town Scooters in Portland. The listing includes a brief history of the TV 175, which was available only for a short time. It is the sale price that, to say the least, knocked my socks off.


Twenty-two THOUSAND dollars. Plus buyer’s premium.

This has to be a record. I’ve heard of original-condition Vespa 90S models going for around 10 grand, but… but…

Prices for some collector cars have been mind-boggling for a long time. Certain Ferraris command eight-figure sums; even something as seemingly prosaic as a 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda convertible went for $3.5 million in 2014. (Only 13 were built; needless to say, there are a lot of fakes out there…)

But 22 grand for a Lammy? Really?

Collector-car auctions can be quite entertaining—people with lots of money trying to one-up each other at Barrett-Jackson was a staple of SPEED Channel in its heyday, and live coverage continued this year on Discovery and Velocity. Obviously, someone thought this Lambretta was worth a five-figure sum of money.

To me, the price paid makes the scooter too valuable to use as its maker intended. I’d be too worried about damaging it, or leaving it unattended.

But as someone observed, the rich are different from you and me. A lot of cars bought for fantastic sums find their way back to the auction block after a few years, or even a few months. We’ll have to wait and see if this one turns up again. Favicon

  1. January 16, 2015 6:56 am

    So I paid too much for it? 😛

  2. January 18, 2015 6:19 am

    My grandfather once told me that if you go to a restaurant and pay $20 for a plate of fish; that YOU are the catch of the day…

  3. January 18, 2015 8:49 pm

    Well said, bad cost, and good result. The result of it is too damn high. I think we could get cheaper cost for the same result, except the scoot is original from the year it was produced.

  4. January 20, 2015 12:52 am

    Yes, too expensive for us or for what it is, but…someone really likes this old Lambretta. Part of me is glad someone over values this old piece of rolling art. As long as they leave some old scooters for the rest of us.

  5. January 20, 2015 12:00 pm

    Conchscooter, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Yes, the price paid could be explained by the fact that this is a meticulously restored example offered for sale in a rarefied environment. But skyrocketing prices of collector cars have collectors seeking value in lower-priced vehicles. Which could have serious implications for the vintage scooter hobby…

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